Life Of Agony's Alan Robert Talks "Wire Hangers" Movie, Horror Remakes, and Spoiler NYC
Besides handling bass duties for Life of Agony and heading up Spoiler NYC, Alan Robert has also recently formed the Wasted Talent Entertainment production company to make a live-action version of the New York City based Wire Hangers horror comic series.
I had the opportunity to chat with Alan about the upcoming movie, as well as his new comic series Crawl to Me, which leaves the big city behind to focus on a terrified family in a secluded house. During our talk, Alan discussed topics such as the search for a director, putting together the production company, the creepy inspiration behind the Crawl to Me story, and the many different types of horror.
xFiruath: Starting your own film production company sounds like a pretty big undertaking. Fill me in on how that happened and how it’s worked out so far.
Alan: I’m an overachiever guy and I like to juggle different projects. Basically it came about because my producing partner, who has produced a bunch of independent films, had the idea to create the Wire Hangers movie that we could film with live action actors against green screen. We know a lot of CGI animators and modelers that are anxious to jump in on this, so it seemed like a natural fit. Especially since I had always envisioned wire hangers becoming a film anyway. It’s the next natural step for the project.
xFiruath: Had you considered doing an animated film instead of live-action?
Alan: Sure, and that’s still a possibility too, but I’d rather see it live-action. I met Robert Hall from Almost Human FX at Comic Con and he’s worked with directors on creating special effects for The Crazies and Paranormal Activity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He designed the Wire Hangers main costume from the graphic novel cover. A buddy of mine, Nick Principe from Laid to Rest, who plays Chrome Skull, we molded the character to be fitted for him. He posed for it and once I saw that in action, when it came to life, there was no turning back.
xFiruath: At this point has the director or any of the cast been confirmed yet?
Alan: No, not yet. We’re speaking with directors and screenwriters now.
xFiruath: Do you have any idea at this point what the differences will be between the comic and the movie?
Alan: It’s definitely going to be based on the story, and all the main characters will all be in there. It’s pretty much going to follow the story arc of the issues. I’m hoping that it’s pretty close on. Some of my favorite comic book movies, like Sin City or The Dark Knight, they stay pretty true to their source material. But you never know, if we get a big time director who takes over creative control. I hope I have a little bit of say as a producer on board, but when you get a director on its really their call on casting and those sorts of things.
xFiruath: Do you know what sort of release the movie will have or any ballpark figure on a release date?
Alan: No, not yet, it’s too early for that. As we start getting actors and a director we’ll make those announcements.
xFiruath: What’s going on with your new comic Crawl to Me and how is it different from the other series?
Alan: Wire Hangers was more of a complex storyline with a lot of characters with back history that interconnects. It was more of a conspiracy horror/crime type story, but Crawl to Me is a lot more intimate. It focuses on one man and his family as they cope with a bunch of disturbing events when they move into a new home. The house isn’t haunted per se, but it’s kind of like the Twilight Zone. You aren’t really sure what’s real and what’s not. It goes inside the main character’s head. It’s a lot more intimate, but I think it’s more scary. The monsters in this one are real.
xFiruath: In another interview you had mentioned that New York is almost a character in Wire Hangers. Were there challenges or big differences in moving the setting to a rural location?
Alan: What’s interesting is that I recently moved out to the sticks, and that was basically the inspiration for Crawl to Me. The house we bought was built in the ‘50s and it had one of these old school basements with a really long, dark crawlspace. When we first moved in we had some problems with mice and things like that. We had to get rid of all that stuff before we moved in. Being someone that grew up in Brooklyn and lived in the city for a long time, I had never been exposed to those older homes out in the sticks. That was the inspiration, because it’s such an overwhelming experience to have this cavernous, creepy thing right below the floorboards basically, waiting for the electricity to go out and you have to go down there alone in the dark and hit the electrical box. That was a new experience for me.
xFiruath: There are a lot of different types of horror and I’m wondering what type of horror most effects you, like psychological, or suspense, or gore, or jump scares, or anything else?
Alan: I really like the psychological stuff. I’m a big fan of movies that tie it up at the end and let your imagination go wild. Maybe it doesn’t give you the ultimate definitive answer of why all these events happened. Stories like The Shining or Jacob’s Ladder that push the viewers imagination to fill in the gaps, I like that.
xFiruath: What do you think of all the recent horror movie remakes? Besides the ones that were released in the last few years we’re also getting remakes of Hellraiser and Child’s Play before too long.
Alan: I’m not a big fan. I like some of them, but in general with something like Nightmare on Elm Street, I thought the remake was pretty horrible. You just can’t take Robert Englund out of that equation. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. Predators, I guess was more of a continuation or a reboot, but that was pretty good.
xFiruath: What’s going on with Life of Agony or your other project right now?
Alan: Last year we celebrated our 20 year anniversary and we put out a CD/DVD worldwide and that was a lot of fun. We ended up playing “River Runs Red,” our first album in its entirety on tour. We had never done that before so that was really cool. We’re headed back to Europe this summer. We actually started a little bit of writing just to see where that goes. With the Spoiler NYC project, that’s something that’s always on the backburner. When stuff opens up I put a lot of time into it. We recorded two new songs and those can be heard online right now. Those will be on the new album “Banned in 38 States.”
xFiruath: What styles of music are you personally into?
Alan: It’s pretty vast, everything from the new Radiohead to Social Distortion to old favorites like The Clash and stuff like that. When I’m drawing I like background music. I’ll just put on the new Radiohead, because it just kind of puts you in a trance and you zone out.
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